RESEARCH – February 2005

Coping of schizophrenia patients and the need for relevant services


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The study is based on two master’s theses in the field of social work. The aim of the study was to analyze how people with schizophrenia cope in different fields of everyday life, incl the influence of labelling and stigma related to their illness, and give an overview of the need for social services for the clients and their families. The sample was formed taking into account the following criteria: diagnosis F20–29 by ICD, the established degree of incapacity for work higher than 70%, residency in Tallinn and receiving community care support. The research is based on qualitative ana-lysis. Altogether 18 thematic individual interviews (8 with clients and 10 with family members) and a focus group interview with 9 persons were performed. Most often difficulties with coping with everyday life were connected with health, working or studies, financial situation and social relations. Analysis of the life experiences related to stigma showed that the prejudices on the part of society had a strong influence on clients’ everyday life and obstructed coping. The main problem for the clients was the lack of suitable workplaces, which caused material difficulties leading to problems with living space and absence of areas of interest. The clients and their families needed professional consultation on how to cope with the disease and everyday life problems. In Tallinn social services are provided for persons with schizophrenia (still there is continuing need for services of work support and assisted living), but their availability is restricted due to the lack of information about the existing services. It is necessary to increase the amount of services, to develop an information forwarding system from service providers, to help seekers and to promote the work of consumers and family organizations.